During Saturday’s rookie tournament game against the Sharks, Rantanen suffered a sprained ankle and did not return to the game. He’s also not taking part in Sunday’s final rookie tournament game against the Anaheim Ducks.
Despite Rantanen being spotted in a walking boot, the Avs insist the injury isn’t that serious.
The club announced that their top prospect will miss “approximately” two-to-four weeks of action.
Rantanen played nine games with the Avs last season, but wasn’t much of a factor during his time in the NHL. His stint in the AHL went a whole lot better, as he scored 24 goals and 60 points in 52 games with San Antonio. Those are pretty crazy numbers for a teenager.
His success at the AHL level certainly seems to have given him the confidence he needs to crack the Avs lineup out of training camp.
“I want to make the first two lines and get big minutes and help the team win,” Rantanen said on Friday, per the Denver Post. “I want to show what I can do. The first goal is to make the team. I’m more confident than I was last year. I know most of the guys and the staff. I’m not that shy anymore and I can go talk to anyone. Of course, I feel better than I did last year. It’s good for me.”
His versatility should give him an even better shot at making the team. Rantanen, the 10th overall pick in the 2015 draft, is a natural winger, but he played games at center in the AHL and he’s playing some games down the middle during these rookie games.
“I got comfortable playing center last year. I played 20-30 games. It’s easier now. I like to play center but I like to play wing too. It really doesn’t matter. Whatever the coaches want.”
Of course, this ankle injury could put a damper on his plans. Regardless of how long it takes him to get over the sprain, it seems likely that he’ll be a big part of the Avalanche going forward.